The state Department of Commerce released its 2011 tier designations for North Carolina's 100 counties this week.
The tiers are used to determine the type of state funding that can be used for economic development.
Tier 1 counties are the most distressed; tier 3 the most prosperous.
(Durham, Johnston, Orange, Chatham and Wake counties are all Tier 3 counties.)
Five counties will change tier designations next year.
Cherokee and Swain counties moved down while Chowan, Craven and Wayne counties moved up in their designations.
State law requires the 40 most distressed counties to become Tier 1 counties, the next 40 counties to be designated as Tier 2 and the 20 most prosperous counties to become Tier 3 counties.